Netflix agrees to caption all online content by Sept. 2014

Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) promised to offer closed captions on all its content by September 2014 as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought against the company by a deaf Massachusetts viewer.

This decision comes on the heels of an FCC ruling mandating that online video services provide captioning for all programming originally aired on TV. The commission said the mandate would "better enable individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to view IP-delivered video programming."

According to an article in the Washington Post, 90 percent of Netflix's online content is already available with closed captioning.

The company's spokesman, Jonathan Friedland, said one of the biggest challenges will be providing closed captioning across all platforms, noting, "it's a tall order to offer high quality captioning on such a broad range of devices."

The FCC began its 3-stage implementation of the new rules Sept. 30, even as many companies, represented by the Digital Media Association (DiMA), protested they had not had enough time to prepare.

Nevertheless, Netflix may have unintentionally benefited from this lawsuit, as they now have a head start on the competition--at least those companies that are complaining they have not had enough time to reconfigure their systems. By having a deadline less than a year away, Netflix could avoid the penalties or mad rush other online streaming services may encounter trying to keep up with the FCC's guidelines.

For more:
- see this article in the Washington Post
- read the FCC's statement

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